Springfield mayor resigns after plea deal, could come back
SPRINGFIELD - The mayor of Springfield in Livingston parish is on his way out of office, but that may not be the last time people see him working for the town.
Mayor Charles Martin will resign Sunday after getting caught in a DWI cover-up investigation. In 2011, investigators say Martin and the chief of police at the time, James Jones, concealed evidence from a DWI arrest for a friend.
Both men took plea deals for a misdemeanor charge and were forced to resign their elected positions. A judge gave Martin 90 days to leave office, and that time runs out this weekend.
Martin says he regrets what led him to give up his job as mayor for 28 years. He says he would do things differently if he could go back in time.
"Sometimes you don't think things totally through. Looking back on it, we probably should have just took a different approach accomplishing the same goal," said Martin.
While Martin will give up the mayor title, town leaders want to hire him as a consultant to oversee the town's water system project that is under construction. However, the town attorney plans to run the idea by the state ethics board before putting Martin back on the payroll.
"Whether it's ethical, that's for them to determine, but I think it's logical because I've been involved with it and I know what's going on and what still needs to be done. So from a logical standpoint someone's going to have to do it," said Martin.
In the end, Martin does not feel his way out will blemish nearly three decades as mayor. He plans to continue serving Springfield in some way.
"I still care about my community, and I still care about all the people in this community. We'll still be here for them," he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Tommy Abels will take over as interim mayor until the town holds an election in March. Martin cannot run for reelection due to the plea deal.